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The venerable comics strip character Joe Palooka has been remade into a modern day MMA fighter in JOE PALOOKA #1 on sale today from IDW and here’s an exclusive preview. The comic already has support from the UFC and other MMA fans—as we’ve pointed out several times, MMA and comics are a natural combo, with many of the fighters big comics readers, and comics well suited to showing…well, fights.

Joe Palooka # 1 (of 6)
Mike Bullock & Matt Triano (w) • Fernando Peniche (a) • Jace McTier (c)

The legendary Joe Palooka name returns in this all-new version, as Joe fights for his freedom and for his life around the world. Set in the violent and dangerous world of top- tier mixed martial arts, this series will get you in its grip and not let go until you tap out.  Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, Nick Davis flees a police manhunt, picks up the name Joe Palooka in a Tijuana tough-man contest and then travels the world seeking to clear his name while making a name for himself at the same time.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99


Disclosure: I was a consultant on this project.



  1. How can Joe Antonacci claim to have “created” Joe Palooka, when it’s an update/reinterpretation of the Ham Fisher comic strip character?

    I don’t know if the original Joe Palooka is in the public domain, but nevertheless, Fisher deserves some mention for the creation of the original.

  2. Shawn,
    Joe Antonacci is new to comics, so please cut him a little slack. He’s not out to steal anyone’s thunder, but just wants to put a fun product on the shelf.

    He created this new version of Joe Palooka, but didn’t create the name or the original character (obviously). Ham Fisher is a beloved creator, and one that made such a huge impact on Mr. Antonacci that he actually works in the professional boxing world because of his original love for Mr. Fisher’s work.

    All that aside, I hope you enjoy the comics.

  3. first time i’ve ever heard the controversial and troubled suicide victim ham fisher described as a “beloved creator”. but i do think he deserves much more credit in history than he has got. i was glad to hear that his character joe palooka is being brought back and hope that he has been resting in peace all this time and somehow this good news got to him. ham’s auto-bio comic is in my new idw/yoe books’ book “comics about cartoonists: stories of the world’s oddest profession” out soon.

  4. i’m saying the above ’cause fisher’s alleged nasty demeanor is most remembered because of a former assistant al capp who wrote an essay about ham for the atlantic called “i remember monster”. (BTW al capp is another ink-slinger that has a comic in “comics about cartoonists”.

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